Explanation of Names
Chrysopidae Schneider 1851
from the Latin chrys-, after the ancient Greek χρυσός, ('gold') + ōps ('face') + -idae (taxonomic family suffix), seemingly referring to the typically golden eyes found in green lacewings
named after the type genus, Chrysopa
Leach 1815, which is used as the root of many green lacewing genera
78 spp. in 16 genera* in our area(2)(3)(4)
; ca. 1,200 spp. in 75 genera and 3 subfamilies worldwide(5)
* Genera not yet in the guide: Pimachrysa Adams, 1957 (5 spp., AZ-CA), Plesiochrysa Adams, 1982 (1 sp., FL)
Key to most NA genera in (6)
Wings appear hairless to the naked eye, but bear short hairs along the edges and veins
Most species are green, but some are brown, especially overwintering adults of certain species:
Pinned specimens turn yellowish.
Larvae are 'alligator-like', with large jaws. Larvae of some spp. cover themselves with bits of litter/debris.
Common in grass and weeds and on tree/shrub foliage
Some adults are predators, others take liquids such as honeydew, and some feed on pollen
Larvae prey on insects, especially aphids (sometimes called 'aphid lions'); will also consume larger insects, insect eggs, and pupae.
Eggs are characteristically stalked. The eggs and egg-laying shown here:
The larvae pupate in silken cocoons usually attached to the underside of leaves or stems.
Click on either image to see the life cycle of Chrysopa oculata
often give off an unpleasant odor when handled.
Some species used as biological controls
of larvae feeding on aphids.
Adults are crepuscular or nocturnal.
Duelli P., Johnson J.B., Waldburger M., Henry C.S. (2014) A new look at adaptive body coloration and color change in “Common Green Lacewings” of the genus Chrysoperla (Neuroptera: Chrysopidae). Ann. Ent. Soc. Am. 107: 382-388 (Full text
Tauber C., Tauber M.J., Albuquerque G.S. (2014) Debris-carrying in larval Chrysopidae: Unraveling its evolutionary history. Ann. Ent. Soc. Am. 107: 295-314 (Full text